You’ll Ryu the dinner
Reality bites — but it shouldn’t bore. Yet that seems to be the goal at Ryu, a mind-, ear- and palate-numbing “Japanese” joint opened by Kourtney Kardashian’s baby-daddy, Scott Disick.
At a Meatpacking District spot launched by the nation’s most notorious televised sleazeball, you want something to make you hold your sides laughing — like a house-full of drunk Kardashians, or the sight of Disick vomiting into a garbage can, as he did recently in Atlantic City.
But kiss your C-list sighting dreams goodbye. The only definite impression one night was a trifecta of horrible beverages — flat ginger ale, a “straight-up” whiskey sour served on the rocks and soapy-tasting sauvignon blanc we sent back. Sapporo in a can was fine.
“It’s a young chicken,” the waitress promised of a roasted number that posed no immediate threat to The NoMad’s famous masterpiece dish. But Ryu is full of young chicks. A table of 10 giggly high school girls, some with suspiciously Kardashian-esque features, celebrated a birthday over soft drinks in a half-full house.
The staff didn’t seem to fret over empty seats on a night when most every Meatpacking District spot was overflowing. Is Ryu a restaurant, or just an occasional stage set for the “Keeping Up” clowns?
A few nights later, when it was busier, a fivesome of young pretties in the back-room Siberia bolted before ordering anything, presumably seeking a nearby place with more juice — say, Bill’s Bar & Burger.
Ryu might have the neighborhood’s dullest design: a generic front room with big, round pleated booths and a rear zone hung with body-art images. Japanese characters on the wall remind you it’s Japanese.
Or supposed to be. It’s hard to believe Jesse Camac, a VP of Zak Pelaccio’s scintillating Fatty Crabs and Fatty ’Cues, is somehow involved with Disick at Ryu.
“I hope you’re not copying our recipes,” the waiter chuckled when he caught me using a camera. Rest assured! Except for a few plausible but overpriced entrees ($32 for a morsel of king salmon), most of the “izakaya”-style (casual boozing and noshing) menu would be at home at any saloon happy hour.
“Tempura rock shrimp” were of the common popcorn variety; Wagyu beef sliders devoid of anything Asian; and skewered pork belly a chain of fat globules without a molecule of meat.
A generous bowl of cold, thin soba noodles with lobster, radishes and a convincing ginger-soy vinaigrette was the only decent, reasonably priced dish — $18 and enough for two.
You might go back for it, except it would mean enduring the worst soundtrack outside a cell where terror suspects are denied sleep.
Why doesn’t my Shazam app recognize old hits by The Doors and lesser artists? Because they are not by those artists. Covers of KC & the Sunshine Band! Yes!
Ryu’s friendly floor crew tries to make up for not having enough to do by applying more zeal to a given task than required.
A blond bartender shook a tumbler furiously enough to kill a medium-size dog. Black-clad, arms-folded waiters stood guard like the guys who break up fights on “The Jerry Springer Show.”
If only Ryu produced that kind of drama — or laughs.